Here are the Positions Broncos are Likely to Prioritize at Pick 15 in the Draft

BobMorris

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Denver Broncos' 2019 and 2020 draft classes and how they could go down as two of the best of John Elway's tenure as general manager.

There were a few people who remarked about the piece, in which I talked about expectations for draft picks based on the round they are selected, and why that's a reason not to take a wide receiver in the first round of the 2020 draft.

I can understand that to a point, but it's not quite that simple. The player you select in each round depends a lot on how the overall board takes shape, the quality of players available, and exactly what the team needs. 

You certainly want to use first-round picks on players who will be part of the long-term picture, but that doesn't mean you should hem yourself into focusing on a particular position, or excluding too many, because that's when you start reaching for players, especially if you are unable to trade down.

The better way to approach the draft is to look at the big picture, regarding your roster as it stands going into the new league year, then how it looks after you are finished with most the NFL free agency period. From there, you can determine what makes the most sense in the draft, rather than reaching for a player because you think one need is greater than the others.

Let's consider each position on the Broncos roster and figure out what the Broncos really need.

Quarterback: This one is obvious — the Broncos have their starter in Drew Lock, but need a backup. Obviously, you aren't taking a quarterback in the first two rounds to be a backup for a QB who just finished his rookie season and shows promise to be the long-term guy. A third-round pick might be justified if there's a player you simply can't pass up, but day three would be the better time to find a QB to draft.

Running Back: I wouldn't take one in the first round because what the Broncos need is a back who complements Phillip Lindsay. There's also a chance that Royce Freeman can get back on track next season. Again, I think day three is the best time to draft a running back for what the Broncos need, but I wouldn't rule out a third-round pick.

Wide Receiver: Obviously, you don't want to draft a receiver in the mold of Courtland Sutton, because that'd be a waste of a pick. You probably don't want to draft a pure slot receiver, either, because there's a chance DaeSean Hamilton could be that player. However, a receiver who brings a speed element is something you have to consider. You don't have to lock yourself into that pick, but if a receiver in that mold is there, you should consider it if that's the best available player.

Tight End: This one is easy — there's no need to draft a tight end early. You might consider a day-three option who is an upgrade over other depth players, but that's it.

Offensive Tackle: I understand the desire to get another offensive tackle as soon as possible. However, bear in mind that the best three options — and likely the only ones worth an early first-round pick — could be gone because several teams need OTs, too. You don't want to reach for a player because you are so intent on filling a need. Certainly, you take one of the top-3 options if one of them falls down the board, but if they're gone, you need to consider other positions. A day-two pick needs to be used on an OT, though, and that might actually be the best time to get one because there are options who could become starters after a year of development.

Interior O-Line: Some will tell you not to bother taking this position in the first round, but I don't believe that's correct. This is particularly true with the Broncos drafting No. 15 overall, at which point it makes more sense to look at guards, or perhaps a center. However, that all depends on the quality of players available at that point. If you don't draft one in the first round, you should certainly try to get one by day three to help your depth.

Defensive Line: This is a position I think more Broncos fans should consider. While one would hope the Broncos get either Derek Wolfe or Shelby Harris re-signed, having another defensive lineman in the fold would be ideal. I don't know if one will be worth taking in the first round, but it's a position to keep an eye on during day two.

Edge Rusher: Because Bradley Chubb will be back, Von Miller is still playing well and Malik Reed is good depth, you aren't looking to take an edge rusher early. Day three is when I would consider available options, but you definitely don't take one in the first round. I'd avoid the second round, too, but the third round may make sense if the value is too good to pass up.

Off-Ball Linebacker: No. 15 overall is a good spot to consider off-ball linebackers, depending on how the board takes shape. The Broncos need to draft one at some point, given that Todd Davis enters the final year of his contract.

Cornerback: If the board favors taking a cornerback at No. 15 overall, then you have to consider it. You may even want to go this route if you add a cornerback in free agency. Remember that Bryce Callahan is only under contract for the next two seasons (and could be cut after 2020 once his guaranteed money runs out) and everyone else you have on the roster is a depth player at best. If you don't take one in the first round, you need to draft at least one later on.

Safety: Though the Broncos have made it clear they want to extend Justin Simmons, that doesn't mean safety is off the table in the first round. Remember that Kareem Jackson's deal runs out after two more seasons, so if a safety in the mold of Jackson is worth the No. 15 overall pick, I'd draft him. If the best safety is similar to Simmons, you can pass. Again, safety is a position the Broncos should consider drafting at some point to help their depth.

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Boiling it Down

So sticking with the first round, the positions that should be considered are wide receiver with speed, offensive tackle, interior offensive line, defensive line, off-ball linebacker, cornerback and a safety in the mold of Jackson. All these options should at least be on the table and who the Broncos draft depends both on free agency and how the draft board falls.

Trading up is an option, but I agree with those who say the Broncos should strive to keep their picks because they need to improve depth. Trading down can be considered, but don't do it just to do it. If you don't get a good offer to trade down, stick to your draft board, as long as you don't reach for whatever you think is the biggest need.

So what about the long-term picture if your picks work out as expected? You simply need to do the best possible job of extending players, while using the draft to fill other needs. 

There may be an ideal way to build a team, in terms of the money you commit to each position, but you always want to keep the players who are worth keeping, while letting others depart and, once free agency is done, using the draft to replenish whatever you lost.

The trick to always remember is to not paint yourself into a corner and be forced into taking a particular position. Figure out what positions you shouldn't focus on early, but keep specifics in mind about positions as necessary, and that's going to give you the best way to form your draft board and, therefore, give you the best chance at drafting the right player.

Follow Bob on Twitter @BobMorrisSports, Erick on Twitter @ErickTrickel, and @MileHighHuddle. 

Comments (10)
No. 1-7
Chad Jensen
Chad Jensen

Editor

This article is a good example of how NFL teams approach BPA in practical application. Yes, teams will draft the best player available, but it'll be at a position of need, whether it's a current need or one the team anticipates in the relative near future.

Erick   Trickel
Erick Trickel

Editor

BPA at a position of need. Thats how at least 75% of teams focus on the draft.

broncofan55555
broncofan55555

Good article. If good players are available at various positions at pick 15, I hope the Broncos prioritize as folllow: OT (if one of the top guys are there), DL, CB, WR, LB, Interior OL in descending order. Games are won in the trenches. WR is vital, but it is a deep class so wait on that priority. Of course how FA shakes out for the Broncos will impact all of this. After Super Bowl 48, Elway hit it out of the park in FA. Let's hope he can do that again. Of course, Peyton Manning was a huge part of that drawing card. Let's hope the coaching staff that has been assembled (Fangio, Shurmur, Munchak) and Drew Lock will be an enticement for FAs to come to Denver.

Jefffrey55
Jefffrey55

We do not have depth in many areas, but we should have a great deal more depth considering last years success in the draft improving and the many draft picks we do have. Last year many players were of similar value to the best players in the draft so why not trade down. I was for it then, but not this year. This year there could be a chance to trade up and get a pretty special player. I like Brown immensely and the #2 DT is a far cry from Derek. With Attachou showing he may be special and the fact we are set at OLB why not trade use him with your 15th? If Lions trade with Miami at #5 the Lions could be interested in Attachou. Furthermore the Saints at #24 would be interested in getting out of round one so give them a 3, 5 and 7 with your two if Austin Jackson is available. He may need coaching up, but by game 9 he starts and Bolles moves to guard. This covers two big needs and allows Free Agency to garner the rest. I just don't love middle one round WRs CBs or ILB. There's another really good DL, but it is not Brown. Still loke Henry Bradberry and Shobert for pte draft signings.

Letswin17
Letswin17

There's likely to be a player of need that's just too good to pass.

OT: WILLS, WIRFS, THOMAS
WR: JUEDY, LAMB
LB: SIMMONS
DL: BROWN, KINLAW

I'd bet Denver draft pick will be one of those eight players. That only leaves seven other players picked in the top 15. Of those seven three are likely to be QB. Now we're at four. Okudah, Young are two more. That leaves only two more players to come off the board before Denver's pick. Those players are likely edge, cb, or safety.

It's very likely Denver ends up with an excellent player of need that's also BPA at 15. I'm dreaming big. Lamb, Wirfs, Simmons, Brown. In that order at fifteen.

Hopefully there's a trade back if none of the eight above are at 15. Maybe someone else wants CB3, WR3, OT4, or DL2, EDGE2, QB3.

I'd be just as happy with an extra 3rd and moving back between 20 to 25 and taking McKinley, Reagor, Ruggs, or IOL 1.

Jman75
Jman75

Great read. A lot of the mock drafts have receivers coming off early and often, but recent history suggest that the receivers fall further down than people think. I’m not saying Lamb will be there, but it’s remotely possible as is the idea only one wr could be taken before us

Bear54
Bear54

My 1st round big board would be....
Brown
Akuhda
Simmons
Kinlaw
Any of the top 3 OT
Lamb
Riggs
Juedy

Really want trench player off. or def.
Get wide out in round 2 like Sutton last year.


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